Filed Under:  Columns, Opinion

Three journeys to eternal life

21st May 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Fr. Jerome LeDoux
Contributing Columnist

Traveling the world over in the U.S. Air Force, Ealy Mark Boyd, Sr., and his wife Matile stopped in Rapid City, South Dakota long enough to bring Ealy Mark Boyd, Jr., into the world on January 5, 1960. Older sister Pat was there to witness the proceedings.

Despite the globe-trotting bent of his family, Mark called Fort Worth, Texas, the home base of his parents, home. Mark attended Our Mother of Mercy Elementary School in Fort Worth, then traveled with his family to Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico where he went to middle school. He did high school at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, where he excelled in baseball, hurling five shutouts during his senior year.

Back in Fort Worth, he did his first year of college at Texas Wesleyan, but joined Pat and the family in Houston to attend the University of Houston for the next three years, majoring in accounting. He graduated from the UT at Arlington with a B.S. in accounting that got him into Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Air Craft Company.

During this time, he met his future wife Suzanne who introduced him to music, his calling. Mark’s journey to eternal life led him through EMI, Capital, Virgin, Motown, SOBE and other record companies. Eventually, he formed his own promotion company, Pinnacle Marketing & Promo­tions, working with artists such as Najee, Aleiah, Arrested Develop­ment, Dianne Reeves, Gangstar, Scareface, Janet Jackson, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey and The O’Jays.

All the while, Mark had a close relationship with his parents, Pat, his wife and three daughters – Shameia, Danielle and Sydney – who were the focus of his life, always being put first and taught to be kind to everyone. It was well with his soul that he packed so much into so little time, for a stroke took him at the age of 52.

Some 420 miles to the east-southeast of Fort Worth, False River is one of the largest oxbows in Louisiana. About 30 miles upriver from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the town of New Roads is situated on the west bank of a onetime oxbow loop of the Mississippi River. As rivers often do, one year in the distant past, its current ran straight through the open ends of the loop, silted in and isolated the oxbow as a lake, aka False River. It was in this idyllic setting that John Burrell Thirkield Garner was born on November 29, 1934 before moving with his family to Baton Rouge at the age of three.

Graduated from Southern University and commissioned to the U.S. Army, he returned to school and stepped into history by involvement in a lunch counter incident at Sitman’s store in Baton Rouge in 1960 when he and another student refused to leave the “whites only” counter. After their arrest, the pivotal 1961 case Garner v. Louisiana was heard at the U.S. Supreme Court with a unanimous ruling in favor of integration. All too weirdly, patronizingly, under political pressure, the SU School of Law expelled John.

John established El Falso Rio (False River) restaurant in New Roads. During that time he met and married his beloved Margaret Jean Saizon and moved to New Orleans.

After some time, he joined the New Orleans Police Department K-9 Division where he spent some adventurous years with Scout, his trusted canine. Sadly, he had civil rights issues with the police, issues that led to his wrongful firing. One joy following that stressful time was the birth of Joan in 1976, the only child of John and his wife.

A very intelligent man, John was an avid reader of books and articles on science. He followed his sainted wife Margaret Jean eight years after she returned to God.

Back in Fort Worth, Ealy Mark Boyd, Sr., also a strong civil rights proponent, flew to Miami with his wife Matile to be at Mark’s side after his stroke. In very poor health, he barely made it there. Six days after Mark’s funeral here at Our Mother Of Mercy, Ealy went to his eternal rest, having battled cancer for seven trying years.

Together with Matile, Ealy was a fixture in church and at whatever activities his spiritual extended family pursued. He was the kind of family member whose company and chatter we anticipate rejoining and enjoying forever in heaven.

This article was originally published in the May 21, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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